By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Bartlett Lady Panthers had a mission entering the William Osteen Gymnasium in Millington last Friday.
Head Coach Lynn Whitfield’s bunch wanted to use speed, quickness and good shot selection to beat rival Millington. The plan worked, giving the Lady Panthers a 21-2 first quarter advantage.
Bartlett kept the pressure up for the entire contest against the Lady Trojans to prevail 59-33 and improve to 3-2 in District 14-3A.
“We did get a jump on them tonight,” Whitfield said. “Earlier in the year, we were coming out playing from behind. It definitely helps and it helps our confidence.”Lady Panther guards like Jessica Jackson and Tavia Rodgers applied pressure on Millington guards throughout the opening moments to build a 10-0 lead. Gabby Knox ended the Lady Trojans’ drought when Millington was finally able to beat the press for a layup.
The Lady Panthers turned up the pressure to conclude the first quarter on an 11-0 run. The Lady Trojans solved Bartlett’s pressure better in the second quarter scoring 13 points. The Lady Panthers matched Millington shot for shot scoring 14.
The Lady Trojans had the size advantage entering the game with post players like Tamia Aldridge, Glenda Garner and Jhardae Walker. But the Lady Panthers made sure Millington guards had crowded passing lanes and hands in their faces.
“We have no bigs,” Whitfield acknowledged. “We are guard-oriented. We try to get up and down and play good defense. We try to keep it close by putting pressure on their guards.”
Bartlett scored 24 points in the second half, using good shot selection to maintain its large lead. Whitfield said when your team is undersized, making baskets is crucial toward victory.
“They’re good when they hit,” she concluded. “But when they don’t, we’re so small it is hard to go get the offensive boards. So it’s one and down if we don’t hit the shots. So we try to move the ball until somebody gets into a rhythm.”